NRL Round 12 – Match 5 Preview: Storm v Bulldogs

The first game on Sunday afternoon has the Melbourne Storm returning to their new venue, hoping to defeat the Bulldogs and give the crowd a much anticipated home win after they lost their AAMI Park debut to the Broncos back in round nine.

Melbourne are fresh off a bye last week, whereas Canterbury suffered their third straight loss when thrashed 31 – 16 by the in-form Panthers.

Both teams have plenty of players backing up from Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener, where QLD beat the Blues 28 – 24, so a lot of this will come down to which teams can bounce back the best.

Melbourne has a lot to prove this match and will be desperate to secure their first AAMI Park win. While Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, and Brett White are all returning to the field after Origin, the rest of the team will be relaxed after their Round 11 break.

Queensland’s win would have done wonders for Slater, Inglis and Cronk’s confidence, finally enjoying a win that means something this season, and as long as they all are fit enough to play on Sunday Melbourne should win this.

They are going to be playing without Cameron Smith, however, still out with the elbow injury that saw him miss game one of Origin, and winger Anthony Quinn is also missing for Melbourne this week.

The Bulldogs too have a number of their big name players back from Origin duties this week, but without the confidence as the Blues failed to win in Sydney. Brett Kimmorley, Michael Ennis and Jamal Idris all had a ripper game, but it wasn’t enough and their devastation was obvious.

Downtrodden and struggling to secure the wins this season, Canterbury look in trouble of their fourth consecutive defeat here, which is why Ladbrokes.com.au have them as the $2.40 underdogs while Melbourne are at the short odds of $1.57.

The Bulldogs are further weakened as they will again play without Ben Hannant and Jarrad Hickey, while Mickey Paea and Dean Halatau have also jumped ship to play in the NSW Cup, further reasons why we are sticking with the Storm on Sunday.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Storm $1.57 – Bulldogs $2.40 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 12 Storm Team:

1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Duffie 3. Dane Nielsen 4. Greg Inglis 5. Luke MacDougall 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk (c) 8. Bryan Norrie 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe 10. Brett White 11. Adam Blair 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Tod Lowrie

Bench: 14. Rory Kostjasyn 15. Kevin Proctor 16. Ryan Tandy 17. Sika Manu

Reserve: 18. Jesse Bromwich

Round 12 Bulldogs Team:

1. Luke Patten 2. Steve Turner 3. Josh Morris 4. Jamal Idris 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Blake Green 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Chris Armit 9. Michael Ennis f10. Michael Hodgson 11. Jake Foster 12. Andrew Ryan (c) 13. David Stagg

Bench: 14. Yileen Gordon 15. Tim Browne 16. Gary Warburton 17. Ben Barba

Reserve: 22. Joel Romelo